Concern For The Whitetail Hunting Community

Will you do me a favor?  Will you read my latest article for Wired to Hunt?  Don’t just skim it, or glance at it.  Read it and think about it.

I don’t care what you think of the writing, or what “gaps” you may find it my reasoning.  I know that this post over-simplified the issues and painted with a broad brush.  The article isn’t perfect, and neither is the author.  Nevertheless, I think you should read it, think about it, and hopefully do something because of it.

~Mark

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I have been contributing to Wired to Hunt for several months now, and hopefully that means that I am a part of the family, because there are a few things that I want to talk about today that are controversial.  Now, I say that I hope I am considered part of the “family” because context matters and because relationship matters.  The concerns and critiques that I bring up today aren’t coming as an attack from an outsider.  In fact this isn’t an attack at all, just some concerns that a member of the “whitetail hunting family” has about our future.

I am concerned about the future of hunting.  I’m not trying to be apocalyptic; in fact, there are a lot of positive trends happening right now that are helping strengthen the future of hunting, at least temporarily.  But, the fact of the matter is, there are some large issues that should be concerning.

Continue reading at WiredToHunt.com

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Gear Review – Badlands’ New Bio-Thermic Apparel Line

Last spring I was given the opportunity to get an advanced look at some of Badlands’ new Bio-Thermic apparel.  I received a pre-production prototype of the Velocity jacket, which convinced me that the Badlands line was going to be worth investigating further.  (You can see my first impressions of the Velocity jacket HERE.)  Since then I have picked up more pieces from the line; some of these items were given to me by Badlands and some items I purchased on my own.

Badlands Bio-Thermic Apparel

I have waited until now to review these items because I didn’t want to make this review an “off the shelf” look at these items.  I wanted to use these garments extensively and give you an accurate “in use” review of what I have been using, and in some case abusing, since early September.

I’ll share some of my overall impressions of the whole apparel line below, but first I will give you an opportunity to jump straight to the individual reviews of the items that I have used this season.

Click on the following icons to read a review and watch a short video on the items…

Badlands Momentum PantBadlands Momentum Pant
Badlands Momentum PantBadlands Momentum Pant

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The Badlands Apparel Line – Overall Impressions

Overall, I think that the Badlands apparel is a great set of clothing which can be suited to a wide variety of needs.  In the past I have struggled to find the right set of hunting clothes to meet the demands of my long hunting seasons.  I am glad that Badlands, like other modern hunting clothing manufacturers, has put together system where individual pieces can stand alone or be combined to work together and provide you with suitable apparel for a wide variety of weather conditions.

Hunting in the Velocity jacket

The Badlands apparel line reminds me a lot of their packs – both product lines are durable, functional, and obviously designed by hunters, for hunters.  Badlands gives attention to little details, which make their designs stand out above the rest.

Materials – I love the materials that Badlands has put together for their apparel line.  Both the fleece and insulated pieces provide adequate warmth without being bulky.  Their soft shell material has an awesome stretch to it, so instead of binding with movement, the clothes work with you.

Design/Functionality – Speaking of materials, Badlands has put a lot of thought into which materials go where – even going so far as to utilize completely different types of fleece in one garment to target different areas of the body.  Other nice design/functionality elements include the grip lining at the bottom of the jackets, the adjustable cuffs, the accessible pocket layouts, and the addition of the built-in, removable gators on the Momentum pant.

Momentum Pant Detail

Construction – The construction of the Badlands gear is very good overall.  The stitching is stout the fabrics are tough; I haven’t had any durability issues with rips, tears, snags, etc.  One construction issue that I did encounter is a zipper that went off track on my Convection bibs – a minor problem that Badlands will repair or replace with their awesome warranty and customer service.  It would be nice to see Badlands step up to the popular and trusted YKK zippers, but that said, I have not had any other issues with any of the zippers on the other Badlands pieces, which I have used extensively.

Fit – The overall ‘fit’ of the Badlands apparel could be considered ‘athletic’.  I don’t know about you, but in the past I have struggled to find hunting clothes, especially hunting pants, that fit well.  You don’t want something too baggy, but you don’t want something too restrictive.  Badlands nails the fit of this line – it minimizes bulk and bagginess, but the stretch of the materials and articulation of the garment’s cut allows the pieces to move with you.

OverallI would definitely recommend that you check out Badlands Bio-Thermic apparel line.  If you are looking for a combination of quality, features, comfort and durability, then the Badlands apparel is a great option to consider.  Quality hunting clothes won’t make you a better hunter, but they can make you hunt better – by enabling you to stay in the field longer during challenging and variable weather conditions.

View the complete lineup of Badlands’ Bio-Thermic Apparel at BadlandsPacks.com

Detailed Reviews

Cold Weather Bowhunting – 4 Things You Shouldn’t Do

Sunrise On A Frosty Morning

We have had a very mild fall so far in my area. In fact, I could have hunted in a t-shirt during the majority of the past couple weeks.  However, December is almost here, and as many of us wrap up our bowhunting seasons into January we will have to face some tough late-season conditions.  Here are four things that you can’t do if you are to remain an effective, accurate bowhunter and finish your season strong.

1)     Don’t forget the fundamentals

My days of dedicated practice sessions are long-gone.  The summer nights that I spent flinging arrow-after-arrow seem like a distant memory.  Sure, I have shot a few arrows here and there, but if I’m honest I would have to admit that my shooting effectiveness isn’t at 100% right now.  It is vital that I don’t forget the fundamentals of a good shot; using my shot sequence is more important now than it ever has been.

It is dark when I leave for work and dark when I return home in the evening.  Time to practice is hard to come by, so I have to get creative.  Shooting just a couple of arrows a day will help keep me sharp, even if I am shooting them at point blank range in my garage.

How can you get creative and find a way to maintain your shooting form?  Could you practice in your basement or garage?  Make it a goal to shoot just a couple of arrows a day, and don’t focus on the results, just focus on executing a relaxed shot with proper form.

2)     Don’t allow interference

We all know what a challenge it can be to stay warm in a treestand when the mercury falls.  And sometimes it seems nearly impossible to stay warm without looking like the Michelin Man…

Continue reading at WiredToHunt.com

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Sole Adventure Joins Western Hunter & Elk Hunter

Western Hunter & Elk Hunter

I am excited to announce that I am going to be doing some blogging for Western Hunter and Elk Hunter magazines.  It appears that many of you (readers of Sole Adventure) are whitetail hunters, but a good portion of you are also hunters from the West that chase Elk, Mule Deer, and other big game.  Either way – if you hunt the West or just dream about it – stay tuned to Sole Adventure, Western Hunter and Elk Hunter.  We’ve got some great things coming!

Wilderness Athlete Review

My first post for Elk Hunter is perfectly timed for the holiday season…

“Let’s face it – most of us have, at one time or another, gone on a health “kick”. We’ve tried this workout routine, or that product, but it is rare that we actually stick with it.  This time of year is especially rough on our health, diet, and fitness.  The hunting season is, or almost is, over for many of us.  The holidays are here, and along with the good times come a lot of good eats.  Then the New Year will be here, and if you are like a lot of folks, January 1st will bring reflection, regrets and resolutions.”

Continue reading…

End of the World Giveaway!

Also, be sure to check out their “End of the World” giveaway.  There are thousands of dollars of prizes up for grabs.  Enter before December 21st!

Big Buck Down! (Unfortunately)

The last five days have been an awesome time with family.  I hunted hard from late-October through most of November, so it was great to take a break and spend some quality time with loved ones.  Of course, I couldn’t have five days off of work and not hunt at all.

On Thanksgiving it was 72 degrees, but a cold front was rolling through on Friday afternoon and the lows for Friday evening were dropping to nearly 20-degrees.  My alarm went off at 4:00am on Saturday, and just as the forecast had predicted, it was blustery!

I bundled up and made a long, end-around hike to get to a treestand location that I have been saving for these exact conditions.  I was hoping that the cold snap was going to have a mature buck on his feet, cruising for some late breeding action.  This saddle on the high ridge was the perfect pinch point to catch some movement.

The first couple of hours after the sun came up were uneventful.  Then I heard some movement down the hillside.  I turned, scanned, and was disappointed to see a coyote trotting away.

It wasn’t long and this ‘yote was back, but this time he had another one with him.  Once again they trotted away in the same direction.

Thirty minutes passed and I heard something else move in the leaves; this time there were 3 coyotes and they were acting aggressively with one another.

At that moment I knew that they were battling over food.  But what exactly was it that they were feasting on?

I knew that my hunt was spoiled so I decided to cut my losses and head home.  I climbed down from my stand and made a quick glance down where the coyotes had been fighting.

I spotted a long tine sticking up and my heart sank.

Buck Down

I wasn’t about to risk invading the kill site with three aggressive coyotes in the area, so I decided to head home, grab a gun, and come back to investigate.

As you can see, what I discovered was a beautiful 10-point buck.  This buck had been shot with a rifle, and though the coyotes had just begun to tear into him, he was largely intact.

The primary firearms season had ended 5 days prior and there is no way that this buck could have been fatally shot that long ago.  There is also no way that this buck could have been shot in the legal firearms season and survived his wounds for that many days.  The only explanation is that someone shot him out of season and failed to recover him.

An extended, limited firearm season was still active at this time, but it was only for antlerless deer.  My guess is that someone was out hunting for does, but encountered this buck and couldn’t resist shooting him.  Apparently the lust for a trophy was greater than the burden of the law.

Buck Down

A buck of this caliber is a rare thing for this specific area.  I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to discover such a glorious animal that had been treated so poorly.  I have hunted hard for over 10 weeks, and passed many younger bucks, to get a chance at encountering a buck like this.  Here he was – the buck that I was after – and my hands were on him, but not in the way that I had hoped.

A big buck down…unfortunately.

Buck Down